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American Queen The Rise and fall of Kate Chase Sprague By John Oller

John Oller

Reviewed by:
On October 31, 2014
Last modified:October 8, 2014


Although billed as the rise and fall of Kate Sprague Chase, this story is inseparable from that of her father, the brilliant, ambitious and ethically challenged Salmon Chase. The author brings into focus a master of political intrigue and a beautiful, ambitious and resourceful woman who was determined to live life on her own terms. Oller’s book evokes an era and the American Queen who, for a time, ruled it.

american-queenAmerican Queen

The Rise and fall of Kate Chase Sprague, Civil War “Belle of the North” and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal

By John Oller

Although billed as the rise and fall of Kate Sprague Chase, her story is inseparable from that of her father, the brilliant, ambitious and ethically challenged Salmon Chase. That explains why more than half the book follows his career. Chase was U.S. Senator from Ohio, Governor of that state, secretary of the treasury in the first Lincoln administration, and chief justice of the Supreme Court in the second. 

No other politician of his era switched parties so frequently or ran for president as often as Chase did –four times actively from 1856 to 1868, and at least tacitly in 1872. No other chief justice of the Supreme Court sought the presidency, as Chase did twice, while sitting on the bench. 

Only as Chase withdraws from public life does Kate’s story become dominant. 

Many well known historical figures make, what in the movies are called, cameo appearances, Charles Sumner, James Garfield, Horace Greely, William Seward and, of course, Abraham and Mary Lincoln. This reviewer was delighted to find among this number the inestimable Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar. The occasion was when an over wrought Republican Senator Roscoe Conkling (more about him later) accused Senate Democrats of bad faith in their efforts to over turn federal election law guarding against voter fraud.

Mississippi Senator Lucius Q. C. Lamar, an ex-Confederate general, took offense and, trembling with anger, pronounced Conkling’s statement “a falsehood, which I repel with all the unmitigated contempt that I feel for the author of it.” Conkling slowly rose from his seat and, glaring at Lamar, said that if he heard him right, then but for the fact that they were standing in Senate, with all its rules and proprieties, “I would denounce him as a blackguard, as a coward, and a liar.” …Lamar stood again and said he had been understood correctly and meant to say “just precisely the words, and all that they imported.” He apologized–not to Conkling but to the Senate–for his harsh language, which was “such as no good man would deserve and no brave man would wear.”  In southern code Conkling had just been challenged to a duel.

There was no duel. Conkling, the insulted party, did not pursue the matter. “Lamar’s backers claimed a moral victory over someone afraid to fight.”

But I digress. As for Salmon Chase, the “moderately prosperous” Ohio banking lawyer, his interests ranged far beyond his legal practice. Chase did all he could to advance the antislavery cause, although he denied being an abolitionist. Cincinnati was a border town, dependent on the slave trade with the South, and  abolitionists were unpopular. But it was also an important station on the Underground Railroad. To his credit, Chase opposed the fugitive slave law and regularly defended runaways in court and just as regularly lost. Chase became nationally known for his efforts. It was part of his plan to “make his mark in the world.”  But his personal life was haunted by tragedy. 

During a span of 14 years Chase was widowed three times, losing as many infant daughters to death. Kate, a daughter by his second wife, and Janet, stepsister to Kate by his third wife, were the only surviving issue. He never married again.

In 1849 Chase, having made was a deal with the Democrats, was elected to the U.S. Senate, (At this time state legislatures elected U.S. senators.) According to Oller, he served an undistinguished single term, being widely viewed as an opportunist.

Kate was away at boarding school. Her letters home were received with caustic comments about errors in spelling, grammar and style deficiencies and sent back with instructions to correct and return them to her father. He constantly harangued the lonely and homesick girl to strive for excellence.  

She returned to Ohio when Chase, back from Washington, was running for governor as a Republican. Kate became her father’s “official hostess, interior decorator, and confidential secretary,” and was increasingly relied upon as a sounding board for his political thinking.   

Lovely, well educated and charming Kate became a popular hostess much admired by the many notable men who frequented the Chase home. Kate developed an early preference for the company of men over that of women. The feeling was mutual on both counts. 

Undaunted by an unsuccessful effort in 1856 to be the first-ever presidential candidate for the Republican Party, Chase set course for the 1860 presidential election. Kate used all the means at her disposal to garner political support for her father. But he lost the nomination to a backwoodsman from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. 

Despite his disappointment Chase campaigned vigorously for Lincoln. He expected to be rewarded with the top position of secretary of state. When Lincoln chose William Seward instead, Chase lobbied for treasury secretary, having determined his interests would be better served inside the cabinet than out. Lincoln, presumably out of gratitude, and believing Chase to be the best man for job, appointed him.

Kate used her popularity and her father’s cabinet position to entertain lavishly and, not incidentally, advance his undiminished presidential ambitions.   

When hostilities broke out between the states, the southern ladies who had led Washington society, departed. 

As First Lady, Kentucky native Mary Lincoln was now ‘the titular head of official society’ but it was Kate Chase, the young westerner from Ohio, who was sovereign in fact. 

The rivalry between the two is described in an anecdote.  

At the end of the first White House state dinner on March 28, 1861, Mrs. Lincoln reportedly told Kate, “I shall be glad to see you any time, Miss Chase.”  

The twenty-year-old Kate drew herself up to her full height, towering above the First Lady, and answered, “Mrs. Lincoln, I shall be glad to have you call on me any time.”

As Washington prepared for war, Kate fell in love with the dashing war hero and boy-Governor of Rhode Island, the troubled William Sprague. Sprague’s penchant for hard drinking was already well known as were rumors that he had gotten a young woman pregnant and that the liaison was not ended. But Kate was not deterred from marrying the handsome Sprague. Perhaps she thought she could change him, or maybe being one of the richest men in America added to his charms. Kate spent lavishly on furnishings for their home and on herself. Her father, with some misgivings, agreed to the union.   

Chase worked hard as treasurer to raise money for the conduct of the war. But he never got over the idea that he, not Lincoln, should have won the nomination and been president. Chase was openly critical of Lincoln’s conduct of the war and was complicit in the Cabinet Crisis of December 1862 when, along with radicals in Congress, he attempted to remove Seward. The coup failed and it marked the end of any real influence Chase had within the administration. 

Chase was again gearing up to run for president, intending to challenge Lincoln for the 1864 Republican nomination, but this time with financial help from his son-in-law. 

According to a diary kept by Lincoln’s secretary John Hay, the president was well aware of Chase’s disloyalty. He told Hay that he supposed Chase would  “like the bluebottle fly, lay his eggs on every rotten spot he can find.” And indeed, Chase backers were an unsavory lot. But the tide of war turned in favor of the Union, virtually assuring Lincoln’s re-election and dashing Chase’s hopes for the presidency again. 

As Kate’s marriage deteriorated under the stresses of Sprague’s alcoholism and philandering, the couple was often apart. Her spending was unabated, culminating in a four-story Victorian Gothic mansion in Narragansett. In the author’s words, “fit to serve as a future summer White House.” 

Throughout the tribulations of Kate’s marriage, Salmon Chase encouraged her to overlook Sprague’s failings and be a submissive wife. No advice could have been further afield from Kate’s independent nature. However, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Salmon Chase was concentrating on another presidential run. 

In January of 1868, Kate was working hard to advance her father’s presidential ambitions. But after the Republicans nominated General Ulysses Grant, Kate determined that Chase’s only chance was to run as a Democrat. Advised by Kate, Chase turned his back on the causes of a lifetime and endorsed the Democrat Platform. The delegates rejected the man remembered for his radical Republicanism and abolitionism as their candidate. 

Kate’s marriage continued to fall apart as Sprague’s behavior became so bizarre that even Salmon Chase could not longer abide it. He stopped urging Kate to reconcile.  

Kate urged Chase to run again in 1872, despite his having suffered a stroke from which he was still recovering. She hosted an elaborate reception to persuade potential supporters. The idea aroused no interest. Chase’s two decades long quest for the presidency was over. 

A contemporary asserted that it was “her, not so much his, wild ambition” to make Chase president. 

But to ask whether Kate lit her father’s burning fires of ambition or whether it was the other way around posits a false choice. The reality is that both Kate and her father craved a Chase presidency, not only for themselves, but also for each other.

Salmon Chase died in May of 1873 at the age of sixty-five. He did not witness the September financial crash that deprived his wealthy, erratic son-in-law of business and fortune. Nor did Chase know about the sordid scandal caused by Kate’s affair with New York Senator and Republican Party political boss Roscoe Conkling, a married man.  

The two had been romantically linked in the gossip columns long before a confrontation at Narragansett between Sprague and Conkling made national news. Public squabbling between Kate and Sprague kept them in the public eye to the credit of neither party. 

Kate’s affair with Conkling continued. He, like Kate, was intensely political. And she soon swung into action lobbying then President Chester Arthur to obtain a high office for Conkling. ideology and party loyalties mattered little to Kate. 

…(As always, her politics were more personal than policy or party driven. She paid lip service to the interests of the Republican Party and no doubt sincerely believed Conkling was the best man for the job, just as she had been convinced that that her father was the best man for presidency. But at bottom she equated what was best for the party with what was best for Roscoe Conkling.

But Kate’s flaunting of convention had a cost. At the time, infidelity on the part of a man could be ignored but was unacceptable for a woman. The rest of Kate’s story is a sad one. Her only son, subject to the same demons that beset Sprague, died by his own hand. The marriage also had produced three girls. Her grown daughters led separate lives but Kitty, the daughter who most resembled Kate, had the mental capacity of a child. Kate devoted the rest of her life to caring for her.  

Chase’s modest bequest was gone, what property remained was in foreclosure. Kate lived a hand-to-mouth existence “raising hens and selling milk, eggs and home grown fruit and vegetables in suburban Washington” to support herself and Kitty. It was a display of indomitable courage and nobility. 

John Oller has written an absorbing book. For the most part the author is objective, leaving it to readers to draw their own conclusions. His assessment of President James Garfield, however, is at odds with Candace Millard’s biography, reviewed here. But that is an issue for historians to debate.  

Oller drew upon family papers provided by Kate Chase’s descendants and other previously untapped resources to write this dramatic and meticulously researched story. It encompasses far more than this review reflects.

The author brings into focus a master of political intrigue and a beautiful, ambitious and resourceful woman who was determined to live life on her own terms. Oller’s book evokes an era and the American Queen who, for a time, ruled it.   


1 Genna Corsentino { 11.28.14 at 2:08 pm }

I have read this book and while I am impressed that Mr. Oller did a lot of research, I didn’t feel that he had the right to try and make a case to convict Kate Chase on adultery and change what it is in american history as an “alleged” affair. I also didn’t appreciate the fact that he sought out members of her family to help give him the credibility to do this, as if to back him up enough to change history. In fact, he made the entire first half of his book about her ambition for her father and the second half of his book trying to make a case for her adultery, which he did not do. This affair was publicly alleged by her philandering, drunken and very abusive, Bi-Polar husband. While there may have been talk and some news about the two, it wasn’t until Sprague had a drunken nervous breakdown in the town square with a shotgun that all of this became an inflammed bunch of tabloid like headlines, for very embellished stories. Mr. Oller set out, in this book, to make an attorney’s case against her, basically to condemn her on circumstantial evidence, for adultery. What he basically did in his book is ignore the seriousness of the abuse that Kate Chase lived, in her marriage to Sprague. The only hint that we get is the chapter where he explains how she got away from being held prisoner in her own home by this drunken monster. He rather, instead chose to show that being a cold, heartless political woman is what drove her and that is so far from the truth, that I can’t believe that her family would have approved of letting him convict of her the way he has. Mr. Oller’s book is no better than those who slandered her during her divorce and even before Sprague’s circus like, melodrama of accusations and foolery to the audience that he sought out as witness for his own agenda. He lets Sprague off the hook in this book to the point of the ridiculous. I feel that he set out to slander Kate Chase in favor of Sprague and actually resented her ambition himself. He uses her family to condemn her with their blessing. There was nothing wrong with Kate’s ambition, there was nothing wrong with Kate. She was simply a woman before her time who made the wrong choice in a husband who turned out to be nothing more than a jinx of fate in her life and a drag on both she and her father. The horrors that Kate suffered under Sprague while her father urged her to stay in the marriage was nothing less than brutal. The fact that she had powerful friends that she never lost and a healthy interest in power and politics is not a crime or anything that she should have ever been condemned for. Kate was a smart, intelligent and decent woman who was married to a man who had not a clue of how to begin to appreciate those qualities in a woman. Sprague didn’t have a clue of the importance of family first. In fact, I believe that Sprague didn’t marry Kate for love at all. He married her to cover his own backside in case he was found out for treason during the war. He misrepresented himself to Kate from the very beginning. He had women before he married her and during his marriage to her and sadly, he could not control his mental illness or his drunkenness and sexual addictions. Kate was finally lucky to be rid of Sprague, who plagued her life with nasty, common, drunken trash. He humiliated her and purposefully set out to ruin her and her father because he wasn’t man enough to know what was really important. He threw his life, his family business and his entire family away for alcohol and trashy tramps. He treated his daughters like they were strangers in his life and he used his son until he finally destroyed him as well. Oller may have done his research but what he missed entirely is what he claims that Aura, a great granddaughter asked him to do, from the start. He missed the truth of Kate’s heart. He really didn’t know this woman at all. Sadly, his book is one more cold hearted view but it looses its credibility, even with the consent of Kate’s descendants, because he missed the real story of this woman. Her true heart and soul.

After the first time I read this book, I believed that it was a good book and worthy of the read and I still do, but I think that the reader should beware that Mr. Oller missed the true heart of Kate in this book. In wanting to be fair to all that supported him, he was trying to please all of them instead of the subject he wrote about.

I read this book twice because I have spent my entire summer reading and studying about Salmon Chase and his two daughters and while this was a well researched book, Mr. Oller failed to go deep enough. While he humanized Kate, what he did was miss the emotions of Kate and the importance of the depth of the depth of soul in the abuse this woman suffered under Sprague. Sprague married above himself, but that didn’t give him the right to set about destroying this person just to bring her down to his common and filthy level.

What Oller did was to bring Kate down to that level along with Sprague, as if her ambition was common and her interest in politics was solely about sex with a married man. He has no proof to call her an adulterous woman and no pin or bracelet or familiar friend is enough to try and change history just to sell a book.


2 Marcia { 11.30.14 at 1:04 pm }

Thank you, Genna, for your thoughtful comments. Kate Chase Sprague will always be a compelling historical figure. As you noted, she was far ahead of her time. John Oller drew upon the historical
record as do all historians. In so doing he evinced respect for Kate’s accomplishments and compassion for her travails. But looking into his subject’s heart was beyond his purview. Thanks again for your comments.


Genna Corsentino Reply:

I agree, Marcia. It was completely beyond his purview. When writing about this woman, all of the copycat go along’s that came before him did the same thing. That is what made this book so ordinary. He really didn’t tell her story at all. In fact, what he did was tell the same story that everyone else has, nothing different, nothing new, just that he believed and injected his own opinions about her life and her supposed adultery. I am reminded of a reference he made in his book regarding Kate. “And as one of those women who seemed created on purpose to diminish their husbands.” I found no reason for that comment anymore than I thought that trying to make Mary Viall the only other woman that Sprague had when he was married to Kate. He completely ignored the real horrors that she suffered in her marriage to Sprague and the constant humiliations he put her through. One would think that if someone was going to do something as indepth as his research certainly called for, that he would have had some understanding for his subject, enough to know that he had no right to interject his own opinion of what her motives may have been to hide whatever kind of relationship she had with Senator Conkling. For all we know, Kate may have been a political advisor who needed a diversion from her troubles and traveled with him to help him with his speeches and political message. She was very well experienced as even Presidents of the United States came to her at Edgewood for just such advice, often. Was Mr. Oller under the assumption that she was having an affair with them too? That’s the point! Sprague accused her constantly of sleeping with all of the men she kept any kind of company with. He was insane. The story of her supposed “alleged” affair came from Sprague! I think that we all know about his various affairs. Even John Hay made note that it wasn’t safe to keep company with any friends of the opposite sex, if married. Her husband damaged her reputation with no thought to his children, other than to use them against her. Mr. Oller just finishes the job. There is a real story to Kate Chase and through the years and years of those who have written about her, they all copied off each other, with the exception of Sokoloff, who came closest to knowing this woman’s heart and who she really was. Oller had even more information and chose to ignore it.


3 Marcia { 12.16.14 at 8:36 pm }

All the glitz and glamor aside, Kate Chase Sprague had a tragic life. How true were the allegations of her affair with Roscoe Conkling will always be conjecture. What is certain is that she was a serious political player, albeit one forced to stay out of the footlights by the mores of the time in which she lived. But, arguably, the real measure of Kate Sprague was her courageous devotion to daughter Kitty under the most trying circumstances. Again, thank you, Genna, for your thoughtful comments.


4 John Oller { 12.17.14 at 11:33 pm }

I do not normally respond to comments on my book, positive or negative, but in this case I feel compelled to make an exception.
Before she posted the comments on this page, Ms. Corsentino posted the following reviews (which I preserved on paper or which the relevant website was good enough to save and provide to me):

Goodreads: 5 stars:

“Wow! Mr. Oller really did a fabulous job of researching the history of this beautiful, important and very brilliant woman . . . thanks to Mr. Oller, we finally get a true and fair picture of her life story. I recommend this book to everyone, young and old. It is a gift of American history.”
Barnes & Noble: 5 stars
“This is one of the best researched books ever written about this fascinating woman. Mr. Oller really gets to the heart of Kate Chase Sprague and humanizes her in way that other writers have not touched . . . I enjoyed every page.”

I also received the following email from her shortly after the book’s release:

“I was just so impressed with the amount of research that you did for the book but further, your chapter on how Kate got away from Canonchet. It brought me to tears. I was also deeply impressed by the way you pointed out that her story was not about the poverty, but rather the stamina of this woman and her own personal power. Reading your story, John, I felt that you understood this woman and explained her history the way it really was.”

Yet on this page, shortly after the above comments, she had the following to say:

“He missed the truth of Kate’s heart. He really didn’t know this woman at all. Sadly, his book is one more cold hearted view but it loses its credibility . . .”

“Mr. Oller’s book is no better than those who slandered her during her divorce and even before.”

“One would think that if someone was going to do something as in depth as his research certainly called for, that he would have had some understanding for his subject.”

I am not going to speculate on the reasons for the wild mood swing that marks the difference between these sets of comments. Instead I will try to respond, factually, to the allegations Ms. Corsentino makes here, and in other internet sites where she has continued to be a stalker, posting negative reviews wherever she finds a positive one(which would be every site or newspaper to review the book so far).
Her accusations can be grouped mainly into two categories, as follows: (1) I “ignored” the abuse that Kate Chase suffered at the hands of her drunken, womanizing, “bipolar” husband, William Sprague, and totally “let him off the hook” ; and (2) I “altered history,” which I had “no right to do,” by offering my “opinion” (backed by evidence) that Kate Chase Sprague had an extra-marital relationship with New York senator Roscoe Conkling. Both accusations are demonstrably untrue.

Let us start with the first. If I had “ignored” Sprague’s shortcomings, and failed adequately to sympathize with his wife Kate, then one would expect the reviews of the book thus far to reflect this failing. But instead we find the following:

• their marriage “rapidly deteriorated in the face of Sprague’s drinking and womanizing” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
• Sprague was “mercurial and volatile,” and “admitted that his mind was ‘sadly disconnected.’” (Providence Journal)
• Kate was “cheated on and treated with disdain” (FanGirl Nation website)
• “Sprague was a rather unsavory character” ( website)
• “Sprague was frequently unfaithful, drank heavily, and was absent for long periods of time” (Sandusky (Ohio) Register)
• “Kate’s marriage deteriorated under the stresses of Sprague’s alcoholism and philandering” (Marcia on What Would the Founders Think) (this site)

Of course, these reviewers did not pull such observations out of thin air; instead they got them from the material in my book. Specifically, one will find the following statements in “American Queen”:

• Kate called Sprague “a coarse, dirty boor.”
• “I almost hate this man at times who calls himself my husband, and yet has so little title to the name”
• He “humiliated” her . . . she was “humiliated again”
• In fleeing from Sprague, Kate was “daring and courageous”
• Sprague “was guilty of emotionally abusing his wife” . . . “Kate’s decision to flee . . . suggests she did fear, if not for her life, then at least for her safety.”

Similarly, we find reviewer comments about my sympathy for Kate Chase such as the following:

• “Oller’s treatment of Kate is clearly sympathetic . . .the author’s evaluation of . . . William Sprague . . . is less sympathetic” (Sandusky Register)
• “nuanced and finely balanced” (Chicago Tribune)
• “A well-researched, thoughtful biography of a woman who ‘became entirely her own person, a rare feat for women of her day.’” (Kirkus Reviews)
• “For the most part the author is objective, leaving it to readers to draw their own conclusions . . . He evinced respect for Kate’s accomplishments and compassion for her travails” (Marcia, this website)
• “As for Kate, I have new respect for her . . . I came to detest . . . her husband [who] used her and abused her.” (moderator of Lincoln Discussion Forum website )

But, apparently, none of this is good enough for Ms. Corsentino. She insists I must go on to accept 100% of the allegations in Kate’s sensational divorce petition against Sprague, which she swallows whole hog, even though they were clearly crafted by and embellished by aggressive lawyers trying to make a case at a time when divorce was difficult to obtain and spouses routinely exaggerated (or lied) to establish “fault” of the other party.

The second, and probably more strongly-held view of Ms. Corsentino, is that I should not have been allowed to offer my “opinion” that Kate Chase had an affair with Roscoe Conkling. In her view, I tried to “change history” because in the past, the affair was only an “alleged.” In addition, she states that by crediting this allegation, I “brought her [Kate] down to [Sprague’s] common and filthy level.”

But I did not “change history.” The existence of the affair was assumed by everyone at the time, based on the openly public behavior by Kate and Conkling. It was the best kept secret in Washington. The story was not “started by Sprague” in 1879, as Ms. Corsentino claims, but was all over the newspapers long before then, based on conduct that one respected journalist called “the most open and defiant social transaction” ever seen in the capital. Every biographer since (with one exception) has concluded that the affair DID exist. Even Peg Lamphier, an author whose 2003 book about Kate and William stated, “No amount of objectivity can overcome my distaste for the man [Sprague], and accordingly I will always be Kate’s champion,” nevertheless concedes “Kate’s infidelity,” “Kate’s adultery,” and her “passionate relationship” with Conkling, describing him as “her lover.” By going against the historical consensus, it is Ms. Corsentino, not me, who is trying to “change history.” The one biographer who disputes the affair as unproven (and whom Ms. Corsentino is enthralled with) is Sokoloff, but her book is fatally flawed because it turns a blind eye to all the evidence, and in addition, tries to portray Kate Chase as little more than an ordinary housewife with no great interest in politics, instead of the strong, resilient, and supremely talented woman I present in my book.

In any event, even if I did “change history,” what of it? History is not static, and each generation reinterprets the past based on new evidence. It is the historian’s obligation to reassess the past as new facts and insights are achieved. If it were otherwise, we would still be stuck in the view that the American Indians were savages who deserved to be pushed west and slaughtered, and that slavery was not all that bad.

But to me, the saddest part of Ms. Corsentino’s commentary is her assumption that if Kate Chase DID have an extra-marital affair, then she becomes common “filth” on the level of Sprague. I offered a different view, namely, that “if her husband could engage in multiple, serial infidelities, then surely Kate was entitled to at least one affair of her own.” I also said that “considering her estrangement from Sprague and his own numerous infidelities, it was understandable and forgivable that she had strayed.” But Ms. Corsentino places her entire wager on the view (against all evidence) that there was no affair, because if there was, then in her view Kate is shamed in the eyes of history. In doing so I think it is Ms. Corsentino, not me, who does Kate disservice.

Finally, I must come to the defense of Kate’s family descendants who provided me with mementoes and other items that I used in my book which, as I explained, bolster the case for an affair even beyond the record that existed previously. These included a private note written by Conkling to Kate; a bracelet she wore inscribed by him with romantic words; and most of all, a breastpin he gave her which she wore close to her heart even after his death and until her own. None of them are conclusive in and of themselves, but they are powerful evidence when added to everything else that we know. Ms. Corsentino tries to portray these family members as some either some sort of conspirators anxious to sully the reputation of their ancestor, or dupes unwittingly conned by me into achieving the same result. I can assure her that they are neither, but simply ordinary, intelligent, compassionate people who are willing to accept Kate Chase’s humanity, including her flaws as well as her massive talents, in a way that Ms. Corsentino is not.

Genna Corsentino can continue to spew her vitriol all over the internet if she wants. But she has to know that I will be tracking her and responding as needed. “History,” and Kate Chase and her descendants, deserve no less.


Marcia Reply:

Thank you, Mr. Oller, for responding to Ms. Corsentino’s criticisms. Your detailed rebuttal will assist readers to make their own determinations regarding the issues in contention. Many thanks for taking the time to reply.


5 John Oller { 12.19.14 at 5:34 pm }

Thank you, Marcia. Your original review is the kind that us authors hope for–intelligent, fair, balanced, and without some sort of private agenda or grudge that produces extremist and uninformed comments. And thank you for the opportunity to respond. Not all blogs would let authors respond at such length to bitter diatribes from reviewers. But the Founders were right in believing, as John Stuart Mill said, that the “best test of truth is in the marketplace of ideas.”


Larry barton fogle Reply:

How many descendants does Kate have living now? Are any named after her?


6 Marcia { 12.30.15 at 7:13 pm }

Yes, she did. In the “Acknowledgments” the author thanks the descendants who assisted him with the book. In the “Epilogue” he provides an account of Kate’s children. Her youngest daughter was named Kitty and died just eleven years after her mother’s demise.


7 Christine Korthaus { 06.12.17 at 1:40 am }

I’ve read other books about Kate Chase Sprague and am looking forward to reading this one. I’m curious about something and maybe you can help. Her father seems so…selfish, almost as if she’s an employee, and not always a satisfactory one. I’m not a psychologist but I’d call him narcissistic verging on emotionally abusive.


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